Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Almost Three Months in America

English words Kai has:
eat, drink, water, wash hands, toilet, towel, tickle
banana, orange, apple, silly boy, what are you doing,
jammies, Mama and Daddy, Joy, Alex, Bob the Builder,
up, down, upstairs, downstairs, shirt, pants, socks
shoes, underwear, thank you, come on

He makes simple sentences, “Kai Kai eat.”  “Kai Kai drink.”

He’s counting: 1 approaching 10, by himself; 30 by repeating
He’ll repeat the alphabet and the sounds they make

He’ll repeat anything if you say, “Kai, say, “
And, of course, his receptive language is much farther than his expressive.

We continue to explain things to him using Google translator – because I want him to understand and be comfortable here.
The ESL teacher said yesterday at our meeting that they go through a silent period – makes sense as the new language starts to grow.  She encouraged us to keep him exposed to Mandarin, through youtube, audio books. etc., that it would actually help his acquisition of English.  So grateful for that, since that’s what we’ve been doing Smile  (Don’t know what I would do without youtube and all of the Chinese cartoons!)
He is a silly little boy who loves tickles and cuddles.  He loves to be outside on the trampoline or the swings.  We haven’t had many opportunities with the weather (snowing again tonight!).  He isn’t very patient.  If you get him ready for something, that means it’s happening NOW.  He is very patient with the other kids in the family.  He’s a wonderful little boy – I’m so glad he’s our son!!
(swinging in the play room – and loving it!)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Kai’s IEP

Today was Kai’s long awaited IEP meeting.  Two and a half hours later, my boy can attend the Kentucky School for the Blind.  He is being placed in the First Grade.  Alex and Kai will both be in the K/1 class, but they will be in different skills groups.  I am grateful he can go to school.  I just think of the opportunities he will have now – simply amazing!!  Really as I listened as the teachers discussed the various pieces of equipment they would need (must be included in the IEP), I just sat there so excited for the possibilities literally opening up for him.  Kai – I”m so excited for you and your future!

Technically he could start school tomorrow, but I’ve asked for a translator to be present for a bit as he gets started to smooth his transition.  How grateful I am that the committee agreed to my request!  But finding a translator takes some time, so Kai will officially start school on Monday.  In the meantime, we will go to school tomorrow to fill out our registration forms.  Thursday we will drop by from 9:30 to 11.  Baby steps.

So how am I feeling?  So nervous!  So excited!  I feel like he is going to exceed all of my expectations!  I feel like I’m throwing him to the wolves and he is going to be lost and cry a lot.    I am thrilled!  I am sick with fear!  But most of all, excited and grateful for this opportunity for Zheng Kai!

We have another Wildcat in the family!

Image result for kentucky school for the blind logo

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Ramblings

Lately I have been so blessed during my time in Primary.  Jack, a sweet 7 year old, was giving a talk on the Resurrection.  “Jesus was resurrected and I will be too.”  And my heart just burned as the Holy Ghost testified to the truthfulness of that statement.  How grateful I am for the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ!  Such hope!  Such relief!  Death is not the end.  I am so grateful for that!  I think I’ve also had Easter on my mind, so that helped to prepare my heart for this additional witness of the Resurrection.  Easter, to me, is the holiest day of the year.  This year there are no bunnies or eggs decorating my house (of course, we will dye eggs and have candy, but decorations around the house), only a simple sign, “He is risen.”  He is risen, which means we too will be resurrected – which means my son will be resurrected.  Ben isn’t gone forever.  He will live again! – and as my son. Everyone in my family (actually the whole human family), but everyone that I love that struggles with something physical will be healed and resurrected in a glorious, perfect body!  Becca without an auto immune disease.  Sammi without anxiety and autism.  Jessi without stuttering and anxiety.  Lizzy without separation anxiety.  Joy perfect in mind and body.  Bella healed and glorious.  Kai seeing the world for the first time through his own eyes!  Alex finally able to explain the world he loves and experiences every day.  My humans, whole and glorious – what an amazing gift the Savior has given us!!

An Alex miracle today – Alex has been having a difficult time of late.  We even centered our Family Home Evening on the power of thoughts and how they shape your reality (Craig Manning, BYU Devotional).  We wrote several positive statements to tape all around his playroom.  It has been a blessing.  Used to, Jessi would hold Jessi during Sacrament Meeting and Alex would fall asleep on her lap after a while.  Well lately, that hasn’t been happening, so she has been taking him out to the foyer.  She sits out there with him and sings and hums to him.  Today he would hum a note and she would sing him a primary song that started with that note.  When she was done, he’d give her another note, and so they continued.  But they got to one song, a bedtime song we have used since Lizzy was a baby,”Go to Sleep” , and he hummed it to her!  She was thrilled!  I am so excited!  Alex loves his music – he always wants it on and he will occasionally make a noise that goes along with the music, usually a strong bass sound or done the actions to a song and his “h” “h” sound, but he has never hummed a whole song before!  It was exciting!!

Go to sleep little sleepyhead,

Nestled in your cozy bed.

Close your eyes,

And when you do,

Angels will watch over you.

I am grateful for family dinners.  They have become a tradition now that the Turpins lives here.  After church Gary and Sandi join us for dinner.  Some Sundays Jason and I cook, other Sundays it’s Sandi.  Sometimes Becca and Blake and babies join us (the house gets a bit crowded!!)  There is talking.  There is laughing.  It is good.  I am grateful for it!  (Wish my parents could be here as well to join us, then it would be perfect!)


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

An Amazing Day!

Yesterday was an amazing day – seriously, today it is raining and high 40s/low 50s – but yesterday!  We had a record high for February - 82!  The sun, the beautiful sun was out!  So I took advantage!  I took Kai outside (his third time ever!), we worked on counting, and we went to a park.  I love being outside!

Side note: Sammi is in love with baby Bennett – she and he both LOVE this baby wearing.  They share this sense of euphoria – it’s adorable!

IMG_1585  (Isn’t he still se teeny?)


trampoline and swings on the same day!


checking out different things around – the fence that surrounds the backyard.  The washer!!  :)IMG_1578


Practicing counting and numbers – every day we count.  But I wanted to start working on quantity, not just numbers.  So chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds were our manipulatives – anything edible is good!  The small tray is so he knows where to search – a confined space.IMG_1574IMG_1570

Off to the park – I walked Kai down to the stream and he was able to feel the water.  (He had just finished drinking from the water bottle that he is holding in the pictures.)


Little Miss Ellie is in a funny phase.  She likes to pick things up – to clean up.  She’ll hand you something and say, “dirty!”  So cute, but poor thing – you can’t clean up all of the leaves in the park :)


Sweet girl was so independent on the playground equipment.  She’s 16 months – amazing!


Someone else LOVED the slide!  So proud of him and how he is so brave!!


Least you be deceived, there was a meltdown.  But all things considered, a wonderful, wonderful day!!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Jessi’s Graduation

Jessi has been attending Jefferson County High School.  It’s the kind of school where you work at your own pace.  She started at the beginning of the school year.  So since then she has completed her Junior and Senior years, including four Dual Credit classes.  I am so proud of her!

She completed everything last week.  So Monday we went to school together.  They dressed her up in her  cape and gown and we took pictures.  Sweet Jessi, then one with her teacher, Dr. D, and one with the administrator.  They are so proud of her!  They kept telling her and me how wonderful she is – always the leader of the leaderboard.  She is a great kid!


Afterwards we went to lunch to celebrate!! 


They have an official walking ceremony in June that she is invited to participate in, but she is 100% officially DONE with High School!  On to adulthood!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Introducing the trampoline


It has been so cold and snowy and rainy and yucky, that we haven’t been outside a lot lately.

I feel bad because there is so much in our backyard that I know Kai would like. 

Today it was warm – got up to 70 – but it was raining on and off.

So before the floodgates opened, we headed out.

He LOVED it!  He loves big movement!  I love his happy smile!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentines from the girls…

so sweet ….



But first a few pictures of my grandbabies……. look at Bennett’s hair!!

We went to a shop that specializes in all things cancer, which includes wigs.  The photographer in me couldn’t resist the fuzzy chair and the wooden door, so I plopped the kids down and started shooting.


and sweet Ellie..


the wigs….

we were so amused that with every different wig she put on, she looked like a different Aunt.  Look!  It’s Aunt Rissie, Aunt Asia, Aunt Danielle!  So funny!

She choose a really cute brown short wig.  Now when she doesn’t want to look like she is on chemo, she can pull on her wig and go!



Happy Valentine’s Day!

Daddy gave everyone chocolate, but I didn't get any pictures.  The person who loved them the most – Kai!